Wham! George Michael shuts web chatroom after careless whispers

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The Independent Online

He had few qualms about featuring his lewd antics in a Los Angeles lavatory in a comic pop video, complete with kissing policemen. But it appears that George Michael is not happy for others to take a pop.

Yesterday, he closed his official website chatroom because, he said, he was being "slagged off". After fans accused him of looking old and overweight as well as failing to promote his new album, Michael posted a lengthy explanation about why the site was closing.

He said he was upset by remarks "packed full of negative comment". He wrote: "There are plenty of places to read people slagging each other off, but I wasn't trying to create one in opening the forum. Those of you that want to carry on the media's work will have to do it somewhere else I suppose."

He added: "I feel bad for those of you who have always been supportive, but I'm afraid I want nothing to do with the bitching that has evolved between some members, (many members), and perhaps unofficial sites will be a calmer affair."

Signing off, he wrote: "Sorry guys, but that's the way itgoes ... Peace and Love ... or nothing at all." Many fans described his decision as ludicrous, one saying: "It's a fans' forum, it's freedom of speech, and I don't think it's down to George to take his ball home and say 'I'm not playing any more'.People have opinions and they are entitled to them; that's what a forum is for.

"This just generates more negative press for George and I have to say it's a bad move."

Another fan simply interpreted his actions as those of a "control freak", stating: "It smacks of someone unhappy we're not all heaping praise on him at every turn and that's sad. The people who read and contribute to these boards are fans."